Ericsson has published its 22nd Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report summarizing its performance during 2014 in the areas of: Responsible Business; Energy, Environment and Climate; and Communication for All.During 2014, Ericsson further strengthened the company’s approach to human rights and business, broadened its focus on Occupational Health and Safety to be more inclusive of supply chain activities, and enhanced portfolio and operational efforts to reduce environmental impacts associated with energy consumption. Alongside this, Ericsson surpassed targets for providing access to communication for all in the areas of education, banking the unbanked, and humanitarian response, and positively impacted four million people around the world with its Technology for Good programs.
Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “In the Networked Society, everyone and everything will be connected in real time. As a leading ICT company, our role is to drive this transformation, opening up new ways to innovate, to collaborate and to empower people, business and society. We want to ensure that connectivity paves the way for environmentally sustainable and equitable social and economic development.”
Ericsson is the first ICT company – and one of just five across all industries – to report according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights Reporting Framework, which was established earlier this year, demonstrating the company’s commitment to transparently managing human rights risks throughout its operations. Ericsson also conducted Human Rights Impact Assessments in Myanmar and Iran in order to address human rights challenges within the scope of company operations.
Ericsson’s emphasis on conducting business responsibly takes a full value chain perspective. It begins with supply chain and extends through the company’s own operations, including Occupational Health and Safety where a “Zero Incidents” program was established, with a focus on capacity building among suppliers, in order to tackle and reduce the number of severe incidents in the supply chain.
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, says: “Our ambition to be a responsible and relevant driver of positive change in the Networked Society starts with conducting business responsibly. Each year brings new challenges and opportunities, but sustainability and corporate responsibility have become an integral part of our mindset and identity, and the impact we want to have on the world.”
In the area of energy and environment, Ericsson reports improvements in its own operations, as well as products in operation. Ericsson, a company with more than 110,000 employees, is on track to reduce CO2e emissions by 30 percent per employee by 2017. The full-year reduction for 2014 was 10 percent per employee.
As Ericsson’s most significant environmental impact is the energy used by its products in operation, the company puts emphasis on helping customers optimize their networks. The new Ericsson Radio System enables a 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency, which will mitigate the increasing energy consumption required to meet growing demands for data.
Together with the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), Ericsson and partners have joined forces as part of DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge to launch the education program, Connect To Learn, in Myanmar. This collaboration is Ericsson’s first public-private partnership with a government. The deployments will benefit 11,000 students over the next two years. Connect To Learn is now active in 21 countries around the world.
In 2014, ASBANC, Peru’s National Bank Association, selected Ericsson to design and implement its Mobile Money project, the country’s largest private initiative for financial inclusion. ASBANC estimates that 2.1 million Peruvians will benefit from a mobile wallet by 2019 and the initiative is designed to bring financial services to all, including remote and poorer communities.
Ericsson and the International Rescue Committee entered a partnership aimed at connecting and providing support for those impacted by health crises, natural disasters and conflict-driven humanitarian crises. Initial deployments during 2014 focused on the Ebola response in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ericsson has ongoing partnerships and programs with leading NGOs in India – Plan International (India Chapter), Smile Foundation and Pratham Education Foundation for its Connect to Learn initiative that implements information and communications technology (ICT) in schools in resource poor settings, to ensure that children, no matter where they live, have access to learning resources and quality education. These partnerships were initiated in the Year 2014.
Weidman-Grunewald concludes: “By working in partnership on a range of sustainable development challenges, we develop a true understanding of the trade-offs and impacts our business has in the world. With this insight and our commitment to technology for good, we can be positive change-makers in the Networked Society.”